Nowadays the use of the Internet is part of our daily lives and this concerns all of us and mostly our children. Children of all ages spend a lot of time “digitally connected”, through mobile phones, apps, laptops and tablets, but also through toys, household objects and wearable devices.
It is worth mentioning that recent surveys in Greece have shown that 81% of children aged 5-15 have access to online technologies at home, 40% of children aged 3-4 and 2/3 of children aged 5-7 surf in Internet.
Especially, during the covid-19 outbreak, when more than 1.6 billion children worldwide were educated through e-learning, even 4-year-old, participated in many activities “digitally connected”.
However, our division has handled 288 cases for 2021 related to child pornography and sexual abuse of minors through internet and from an analysis of these data we conclude that minors in some cases can act also as perpetrators because they don’t fully understand the impact of their actions and the projection of their online life to real life.
Additionally, children are foreseen to become the digital citizens of the future and in this scope, it is vital that they have the right to participate in a digital world to the fullest extent possible.
The most essential elements of digital citizenship are:
- Equal access
- Digital skills
- Communicating online
- Data safety
- Freedom of speech
- Digital wellbeing
- Cyber security
Consequently, our children should also be informed citizens and we should provide them with all the necessary guidance on how to protect their rights, and mainly their privacy, and respect others’ rights and their responsibilities.
Moreover, we should all work on the direction of a trusted and robust digital eco-system. First of all, content and digital service providers should assure that their services are appropriate for specific age groups and remove illegal content form their platforms. Additionally, parents or people with parental responsibility should encourage children to follow the rules of the online communities, share with them their online experiences and respect other users.
In this context a regulatory framework and a set of minimum standards could facilitate children’s online safety and help them obtain the benefits of the internet especially in their first steps in it. Through the internet we all gain access to a huge amount of information from various sources, entertainment, culture, arts and ways of sharing content.
But just like any other human activity, the internet has two sides. The security of our home from which we navigate, can lead us to not perceive the threat, as the danger is not immediate and visible.
For this reason our Division and the Hellenic Police have undertaken a lot of concrete actions in order to raise awareness among citizens, businesses, public sector institutions and Academics by informing about safe internet rules. There are also various actions in the field of investigation of crimes committed in the cyberspace area.
In order to fulfill its mission, Cybercrime Division (C.C.D.) has a close cooperation to the prosecutors, judicial and independent authorities, universities, banking institutions, the private sector, the commercial and business world, as well as internationally with Europol, Interpol, EC3, FBI, ENISA and with other central and regional Police Divisions, while a large amount of information is exchanged with the International Police Cooperation Division (I.P.C.D.) and in particular the National Agency of Europol, Interpol and SIRENE Unit.
We also participate in international police operations and in trainings all over the world, representing a modern police force, in the service of the citizens.
We welcome efforts made, like this congress, and projects that offer useful and practical tools to the citizens and we are open to building strong collaborations and talk about issues that concern all of us.
We are waiting for the very interesting speeches of the speakers and we wish success to the work of euConsent.